Slow Down To Do More: “Why Visual and Verbal Reminders Are So Important” with Ashley Graber and Ricky Joshi.

Many Saatva employees use great strategies to keep them on track and I personally love the idea of a visual trigger. Our minds wander so easily, so placing a green post-it at the corner of your cubicle or even computer screen is a simple way to promote mindfulness. Every time your eye catches the post-it, […]

Many Saatva employees use great strategies to keep them on track and I personally love the idea of a visual trigger. Our minds wander so easily, so placing a green post-it at the corner of your cubicle or even computer screen is a simple way to promote mindfulness. Every time your eye catches the post-it, it’s a reminder to re-focus on the task at hand.

As part of my series about “How to Slow Down To Do More” I had the pleasure to interview Ricky Joshi, co-founder and CEO of The Saatva Company, an online luxury mattress retailer committed to providing quality luxury and sustainable mattresses and bedding. Saatva’s brand includes innerspring mattress Saatva, memory foam mattress Loom & Leaf, 100% Talalay Latex mattress Zenhaven, and organic cotton pillows and bedding Saatva Dreams.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?

I used to work in business management and got most of my experience on the agency side of things. I wanted to shift more to an industry and a business I was more passionate about: sleep. Sleep is restorative and necessary for optimal health, but so many of us aren’t getting quality sleep. It affects how we interact with each other and ourselves. That’s one reason why Rod Rudzin and I co-founded The Saatva Company. It was a personal as well as a professional decision.

According to a 2006 Pew Research Report report, 26% of women and 21% of men feel that they are “always rushed”. Has it always been this way? Can you give a few reasons regarding what you think causes this prevalent feeling of being rushed?

Yes. I think there’s been a strong shift in the workplace towards maximizing productivity, but I also think our definitions of productivity are getting narrower and narrower as the years go on. This rushed feeling is a direct byproduct of the pressure many employers and organizations put on their staff to outperform themselves. What many employers may fail to realize is that this sort of pressure on employees only increases turnover rates and produces less productive employees in the long run.

Based on your experience or research can you explain why being rushed can harm our productivity, health, and happiness?

In my experience, being rushed makes people more prone to cut corners, which may not produce the best work possible. It’s important for staff to feel they’re given enough time to do a good job on a project. Rushing also produces more stress, and we all know stress has invisible negative effects that can really take its toll as time goes on.

On the flip side, can you give examples of how we can do more, and how our lives would improve if we could slow down?

Slowing down means less stress and less stress means more time to enjoy work and play, so it’s very important to actively find time to relax. If you’re looking for a place to start with slowing down, take a look at how you utilize your work hours. Do you work nonstop without a break? Are you cognizant of how often you’re hydrating? Try and take five minutes an hour to walk around, have a refreshing beverage, or even have a short chat with a colleague. Find ways to destress during the day so you can have the energy to work smarter.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed. Can you share with our readers 6 strategies that you use to “slow down to do more”? Can you please give a story or example for each?

  1. Take a deep breath. It may not seem like much, but taking the time at your desk or workspace to breathe deeply and be present can immediately give you the reset you need to work smart.
  2. Re-establish your goals. If you’re running like a headless chicken, it’s hard to remember exactly where the end is. Go back to the beginning and get reacquainted with your end goal in order to prioritize along the way.
  3. Make lists. A to-do list is a great way to keep on top of tasks while also eliminating pressure. Many employees are doing double time trying to get through work and remember what they need to do in the first place. Write some of that down so you can clear the mental clutter.
  4. Set working boundaries. If you know email is your biggest distractor, then make a point to only check it once a day. Limit any of your distractions to ensure the time you need to spend on work is being spent wisely.
  5. Don’t panic. This may be easier said than done, but when something goes wrong, count to five and reassess the situation. Jumping to conclusions or panicking can really throw off a good workflow.
  6. Meditate. Whether it’s a quick five minutes during lunch or if you’re spending half an hour after work, meditation can really help you bring your attention back to the present so you’re more effective at what you do, no matter what it is.

How do you define “mindfulness”? Can you give an example or story?

I see mindfulness as anything that draws your attention back to you what you’re working on. It’s a constant reminder throughout the day to stay focused and stay alert on the task in front of you. Many Saatva employees use great strategies to keep them on track and I personally love the idea of a visual trigger. Our minds wander so easily, so placing a green post-it at the corner of your cubicle or even computer screen is a simple way to promote mindfulness. Every time your eye catches the post-it, it’s a reminder to re-focus on the task at hand.

Can you give examples of how people can integrate mindfulness into their everyday lives?

Mindfulness doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated. If visual triggers aren’t your thing, I’m also partial to the verbal method. Simply declaring to yourself out loud the task you’re working on is a great way to refocus. For example: “I’m going for a walk now.” Or even: “I’m cooking dinner.” These simple statements are present tense and, as such, draw your attention back to the present moment.

Do you have any mindfulness tools that you find most helpful at work?

I like to-do lists like Todoist. Keeping a list and checking in with it every now and then is the best way I stay mindful of my tasks.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to use mindfulness tools or practices

I love the Headspace app as a mindfulness tool. We download apps all day long and use them to help make our lives easier, so finding a mindfulness app made the most sense to me as a busy professional.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Incredibly relevant to this subject matter, but I love the quote: “Short cuts make long delays.” It’s from JRR Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’d love to see more of corporate America integrate mindfulness into their daily schedules, whether that’s introducing mental health initiatives during the lunch hour, such as yoga or meditation, or even offering therapy on-site for employees.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

About the Author:

After 15 years working in Commercial Real Estate in New York City, Ashley Graber changed the coast she lived on and the direction of her life from Real Estate to the worlds of Psychology and Meditation & Mindfulness. Ashley came to these practices after getting sober and in the decade plus since, she now runs a busy mindfulness based psychotherapy practice at Yale Street Therapy in Santa Monica, CA where she see adults and children and speaks on the benefits of meditation and mindfulness practices.

Ashley is an Owner and Director of Curriculum for the next generation meditation app & mindfulness company ‘Evenflow’ and launched the company’s one to one online mindfulness mentoring program. Ashley also educates teachers and administrators in schools and presents in businesses across Santa Monica and Los Angeles.

Ashley was trained in Meditation and Mindfulness practices by prominent teachers; Elisha Goldstein, Richard Burr and Guiding teacher at Against the Stream Boston, Chris Crotty. Her Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) certification was done through The Center for Mindfulness at UC San Diego. Additionally, Ashley is trained by Mindful Schools to teach Meditation and Mindfulness practices to children and families. Ashley’s unique combination of psychotherapy, trauma reprocessing and meditation and mindfulness practices make her a sought after therapist and mindfulness educator and speaker. Her passion for the benefits of mindfulness practices as well as her enthusiasm for helping young kids and adults is the drive to teach these very necessary, life long skills and why she wrote and runs the Mindfulness for Families program at The Center for Mindful Living. This is where she teaches groups of families with children ages 6–12. Ashley was featured on Good Morning LaLa Land, presented on Resilience at the renowned Wisdom. 2.0 Mindfulness & Technology conference, and presented at the TED Woman conference offering an in-depth look at the profound psychological and physiological consequences of chronic stress, and how meditation and mindfulness practices can alleviate these effects.

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